I’m Not Broken

Before North Downs Way 50 I had foolishly or optimistically booked myself a place in the Liverpool Rock and Roll marathon.  Why?

Well, my plan for North Downs Way 50 was to take my time, not rush, not push myself too hard, have a great day out on the North Downs Way but this got completely lost until 20 minutes after I received my medal.  I pushed myself so hard, pushed past the painful feet, almost dragging my sorry tired arse up those hills.  I was driven – I NEEDED to FINISH!!!! There’s stubborn me and then there’s complete and utter I WILL DO THIS me and that’s what took over that day.

After Centurion North Downs Way 50 I felt tired, my feet felt bruised and I had a couple blisters that would need a week or so to work their magic and heal the damage I had reaped whilst earning that precious time limit and medal!!  I gave myself until Wednesday to feel okay.

In truth I felt like I could skip out the door and easily run 5k.  Sure my feet were still sore but I was still on way to much of a high to judge whether my body was capable of running a marathon a week after the battering I gave it.  I was torn!  Sensible or fun!  My husband was worried I was pushing myself to hard.  I was worried that I should be feeling more…….well……wrecked!!  This is insane.  I should be jumping over the moon about how fine I’m feeling yet I’m holding back, worried that this is a false sense of security, waiting for the wheels to fall off at any moment.  Nothing!!

Wednesday – I sit and work on my feet.  Just to see if there’s anything still out of sorts.  There’s some swelling, no surprise there.  My left ankle has lost some range of movement, lots of manipulation and its feeling better.  The backs of my knees have some swelling.  A little bit of tightness in the calves.  Do I run Liverpool marathon?  No.  I’m not running until the swelling goes.  I don’t want to break myself after I’ve done so well.  It’s worry holding me back, not my body now.

Instead I take part in the Blisworth 5 mile event.  5 tough miles on a Friday evening.  A short enough distance to test myself and long enough to see if my feet have recovered enough.

I was far too relaxed for this race.  The first time I ran this course I came in last! 62 minutes.  My best time was in 2012 at 44 minutes.  How would I do?

It was very tough at first.  Everything felt out of kilter.  My ankles felt like they were going to break like glass.  The downhill start engaged my upper body and I got the most painful stitch by the time I reached the bottom of the hill.  It all felt wrong and I was fighting hard to keep running.  Then the first mild climb.  My ribs reminded me that they had also worked hard at the weekend.  This was just plain uncomfortable.  The next steep downhill I managed better than the first and then it was the only big climb of the run.  I had a lump of heavy clay where my heart should be, my legs felt like they were going to stop and I was going to face plant into the road.  Then…….. freedom…….  All of a sudden everything eased, I took a deep breath, pushed into the hill climb, a rhythm started to develop.  I was in full flight by the time I got to the top of the hill and my pace was increasing, to fast, slow down.  But it felt too easy and I was pushing hard into the next hill.  2 miles.  Wow!  That felt quick!  3 miles and a water stop.  This is too easy!  I’m pushing myself now.  There are no more steep hills after this.  I finished in 45 minutes.  My feet felt like they had just run the North Downs Way 50 again.  I thoroughly enjoyed the 5 miles.  It also confirmed that I wasn’t worrying for no good reason. I was quite rightly giving my body a good recovery after working so hard.  The 5 miles did feel easy, too easy!! But it was enough.

My mind put at ease that I had made the right decision made it so much easier to enjoy seeing the social media posts of my friends taking part in the Liverpool marathon.  It looked like a brilliant time was had by all.

My lovely husband in the meantime gives me a great idea to navigate home from Dunstable.  No rush, no racing and the opportunity to create a route for an ultra that starts and finishes in my own town.  What’s not to like!

So Sunday afternoon I get dropped off at Dunstable Downs Centre and start heading back to Leighton Buzzard.  I have a route planned.  I have my own Ordnance Survey Map with footpaths marked.  It was all going so well…… And then I get lost in a field.  I followed the map.  I was sure I was in the right place.  But I’m in the middle of a field with no way across a small river.  Plus, to get to that point, I had encountered chest high nettles and thistles and such an overgrown footpath it was just silly!!

A quick recheck of the map.  I’m sure I’m in the right place.  Retrace through the overgrown footpath and back to the cycle route.  Dang it!  I wanted to find a trail route home.  At least I got to 7 miles before I called for a lift home.  I was far too tired to concentrate and it was getting close to the agreed time that I should be home.  I’m going back to that route again.  I’m going to find a trail path to Dunstable.  I’m sooooo enjoying myself hunting for footpaths hahaha!!  Plus my new trail pack was doing a fabulous job keeping my kit nice and snug.  A bit hot for a summer trail run but for a winter run this pack is going to be my bestest friend!!

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Helen

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